Schools hope to get financial assistance

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LAPS can’t receive GRT revenues without referendum

By Carol A. Clark

It’s common knowledge that Los Alamos County is considered the wealthiest county in the state. Because of that, it’s widely assumed Los Alamos Public Schools is amply funded as well.

But that’s not the case, according to local school officials who explained during a recent interview why the district is struggling and why it is critical that the community approve the upcoming referendum election.

“It’s a misconception that our schools are wealthy — people come here from other communities where the schools received Gross Receipts Tax revenues and they think Los Alamos Public Schools do, too,” Assistant Superintendent Kate Thomas said. “New Mexico and Hawaii are the only states in the nation that prohibit school districts from sharing in GRT revenues.”

Other states allow their school districts to receive operational monies from their local governments in a continuous stream, she said. New Mexico instead uses a state equalization formula that provides each student the same unit value for its operational funds throughout the state.

This ensures funding equity among New Mexico’s 89 school districts, which Thomas said she agrees is important.

The difference is that districts in other states augment state funding through their local government’s GRT revenues.

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